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Fears that India's booming assisted-fertility industry could become a source of human embryonic stem cells have prompted the country's medical authorities to propose a ban on the export of all human embryonic material.

The Indian Council of Medical Research — a government-funded body that coordinates biomedical research — last week released new draft guidelines aimed at preventing the misuse of human embryos stored at the hundreds of unregulated fertility clinics that have sprung up in India over the past 10 years.

The Council says it is reacting to fears that restrictive embryo-research regulation in Europe and the United States could force scientists there to look abroad for embryonic material. But the new guidelines could cause problems for Indian researchers, particularly those engaged in collaborations with foreign agencies.

Link to full Nature news story

Reference: Nature 419, 238 (2002)

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